Clipper Race Update: Northwest Passage

This is the tenth in a series of blogs by Dell ambassadors competing in the Clipper Race, a 40,000 nautical mile race around the world in 70-foot racing yachts. If you haven’t read the previous blog entries from Samantha Harper and Marek Omilian detailing their adventures thus far, you may want to start from the beginning. Those entries are all in the “Sport & Recreation” section of Direct2Dell. For background on Dell’s involvement in this incredible event, read our initial blog here.

Greetings from the foggy North Atlantic!

After 10 months of ocean racing, I find myself thinking of home for multiple reasons. This leg marks the closest to home (Labrador, Canada) we will get. In fact, Liverpool 2018 diverted to my old stomping grounds of St. John’s, Newfoundland (I knew they’d have a great time!), and we now have less than a month before race finish and the return to real life (for most of us).

The rain, drizzle and fog we’ve been enduring this past week are typical of these parts and although the fleet is relatively close together, the ocean can still feel cold and empty. Sanya Serenity Coast and have been intermittently keeping us company but looking at TimeZero (our navigation software) often yields no other signs of life. Occasional wildlife sightings remind us that yes, living things can endure the conditions out here which should remind us that we can too!

As we sit on deck, bundled up to face hours in the cold and wet, we dream of getting back to our cosy bunks while the other watch is in dreamland. Our beautiful Dare To Lead is an ark; it gives us shelter, warmth and security as we sail into the great white abyss of fog day after day. I am reminded of a well-known Canadian folk song by the legendary Stan Rogers, called “Northwest Passage.” It speaks of journeys into the unknown, and the chorus is:

Ah if for just. one. time. 

I would take the Northwest Passage

To find the hand of Franklin reaching for the Beaufort Sea

Tracing one. warm. line.

Through a land so wide and savage 

And make a Northwest Passage to the sea.

Looking at our track on the monitors in the nav station, I feel we really are tracing that one warm line across this cold North Atlantic. An ark in a wide and savage sea, sheltering the 19 souls who sail it. And maybe these waters have been sailed many times before, but it’s still a journey of exploration for all of us. And so, as we pass the halfway mark of this leg towards Derry-Londonderry, I’ll share one more verse:

How then am I so different from the first men through this way?

Like them I left a settled life, I threw it all away

To seek a Northwest Passage at the call of many men

To find there but the road back home again.

To all my friends and family back home – see you again soon. And to all our supporters coming to visit in Derry-Londonderry – see you sooner!

About Samantha Harper, crew member, Dare To Lead

Samantha is a 37-year-old doctor from Happy Valley-Goose Bay in Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada. The Dell Latitude Rugged laptop was made for people like Samantha; when she is not sailing 40,000 nautical miles around the world on board Dare To Lead, Samantha splits her time between working in remote communities as a GP, and pushing herself to the limits mountaineering and running ultra-marathons (she has done the infamous Marathon des Sables, a 250 kilometre race in the Sahara Desert, five times). However, the Clipper Race is Samantha’s first sailing experience, and after initially considering only doing three legs, she signed up for the whole circumnavigation, knowing that once she started, she wouldn’t be able to stop until she completed and experienced the entire thing.